Secretary ends today. Thanks for reading.
The original synopsis I wrote down for myself before the story was started:
Secretary: Definition 1b in the Mirriam-Webster unabridged dictionary. “Those itineraries, always distracting me, holding me back. Form, style, function. Holding me back!! NO MORE!” (Throws the chewing wood against the tree) “I unfetter myself! This is the reality. You were holding me back from the truth! The power! I shall go beyond order, and obtain that truth–and with it, my vindication!” Lets tooth grow out. Also, this conversation, regarding how the liquidation effect works on the animals: “Have you ever wondered why that telenoetic effect spreads to the body, but not outside the body? This fur for example.. (plucks out a single hair) is it still a part of the body?” “Metanoesis works on life. Telenoesis works on the absence of life.” “That’s true. But why does it extend to those dead things on the body. If the body is an object, how can that influence spread? Weight buffers. Metanoias. They all spread to the body.” “I don’t know. A local influence?” “Plants can’t receive metanoias. Insects barely receive it. I think it has something to do with will.”
The opportunity to exploit the final conversation there never arose. The story took on a life of its own as the concept of malice was introduced as the secretary’s metanoia. This change, along with the introduction of the foil “Nutsedge,” redirected the entire story from its outset.
As the pages rolled into double digits, two goals became apparent to me:
1. Create an invisible antagonist.
2. Pervasive antagony; no character is beneficial to another character.
These goals were chosen in order to create a scenario that is reminiscent of a typical conflict in our world. An invisible antagonist creates an atmosphere of malaise. Pervasive antagony gives meaning to this malaise while keeping its source amorphous. Who is malicious? Everyone. Who is on the receiving end of such malice? Everyone. This reflection of a malicious environment was intended to give readers pause about their own personal conflicts and the nature of the “malicious” intents behind them. The relationships of every character to each other contained some form of both malicious receipt and malicious intent.
This tapped a very deep well with the question, “what is malice?” The well was so deep, in fact, that I was also surprised; the malice style had to be expanded into two versions from its initial singular concept:
Metralgia, the cycle of passing down malicious action at the behest of the superego. Recipients attack, and in doing so, reinforce their own defeats.
Hemialgia, the freedom from Metralgia that is cancerous to this revised ego.
The crux of the story became SV’s struggle with the weight of his own innovation. In passing down one’s own malicious experiences to other people, one’s own past defeats become justified.
The more I thought about it, the more this structure mimicked language and empathy—two incorrigible bastions of our genome that make our species what it is, both in terms of benevolence and malice. It was the stubborn nature of the very hardware that conceived it that made Hemialgia as effective and deadly a tool as it was.
Fortunately, we are not animal society. We have a few more years under our belt. With care, we can use that history in order to become more aware of our own destructive impulses, no matter how small. In order to do that, we need to absolve the roots of those impulses.
And that requires recognition of the roots.
The next arc will commence in one week’s time.